Cheaper Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 could be canceled — here’s the latest

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 half folded on bench
(Image credit: Future)

Samsung obviously has a Galaxy Z Fold 6 in the works with a release likely to come at this summer's Galaxy Unpacked event. With the growing popularity of foldable phones, it's a no-brainer for Samsung to keep updating one of the more well-established devices in that category.

It's less clear if Google has plans for a cheaper and thinner model to go along with the main Galaxy Z Fold 6. Previous reports had indicated that Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE was in Samsung's plans for this year, but the latest batch of rumors suggest the cheaper model isn't happening.

A new report from TheElec says that Samsung is reevaluating its plans to release a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 this year. The original reports suggested that Samsung would launch the cheaper Z Fold 6 without S Pen functionality. The Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE would have also been a little thinner than the high-end model. 

Dropping the S Pen seems like a logical way to cut costs without diminishing the Z Fold's core functionality. A large foldable needs powerful specs to handle the multitasking users expect, so it would have been wise for Samsung to stick with the high-end chip and large amount of RAM on the cheaper model. 

If it came out, the cheaper phone was also reported to have an IPX8 and 200,000 folds rating. This is the same as the rating on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (and presumably what will be offered on the Z Fold 6), so it seems Samsung wasn't planning to make any cuts here.

Either way, it doesn't sound like we'll find out how Samsung planned to cut costs this year if the Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE has, in fact, been canceled. According to the report, Samsung couldn't make the cheaper version any thinner than the devices offered by rival Chinese firms. Insufficient product differentiation and market uncertainties are also mentioned as reasons for Samsung to move away from the cheaper model. 

With this news, it seems that large foldable smartphones are going to remain prohibitively expensive for most buyers, with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 still starting at $1,799. We expect the Z Fold 6 to retain a similar price when it launches later this year. 

There's always the option of grabbing a discounted Z Fold 5 once the Z Fold 6 officially launches, but for people wanting the latest and greatest model, having to pay a premium sounds like it's going to continue for some time.

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Dave LeClair
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Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.